Edible flowers have been on the list of human nutrition for centuries. They were used either in the form of decoctions or herbal teas. Several reasons accompany the fact why the interest in edible flowers is increasing drastically-their health benefits being foremost
These edible flowers contain an abundance of carotenoids, flavonoids, phenolic acids, anthocyanins, and flavonols which are responsible for their potent antioxidant capacity. They also contain other components such as essential oils, vitamins, proteins, carotenes, plant peptides, and saccharides which are also commonly found in fruits and leafy vegetables.
Why Are Some Flowers Preferred For Eating?
People from around the world consider eating flowers due to the unique combination of their pleasant visual aspect, color, aroma, taste, shape, nutrition, and non-toxicity. Some individuals value the nutritional composition of these edible flowers more and them being fresh, unprocessed, or minimally processed food items. Edible flowers are used widely in cooked meals or raw salads. Indians mostly use flowers like saffron, rose, hibiscus, and lotus in cuisine for color and taste, Japanese use chamomile for preparing tea and to stay warm, and ancient Romans used violets and squash blossoms for multiple health benefits.
One of the most important facts about having edible flowers is that, unlike fruits and vegetables, these edible flowers should be eaten only after consulting a medical, naturopathic, or ayurvedic expert. Also, flowers that are grown commercially or for floral arrangements should be avoided as they are particularly sprayed with pesticides and other toxic chemicals. It is also to be noted that not all flowers are edible as flowers have to be non-toxic, have to have nutritional properties, and innocuous (considering the presence of chemical and biological and hazards). Here is a list of edible flowers with potential health benefits.
Health Benefits Of Edible Flowers
Paracress is also known as the toothache plant or an electric daisy. They are yellow-colored flowers with a deep red center. Paracress is widely used in salads, for preparing shrimps and ducks, and in cocktails. The flowers have therapeutic benefits and used in the treatment of toothache, erectile dysfunction, common cold, and epilepsy.
Hibiscus flower is widely used in the treatment of fertility problems, indigestion, diabetes, and high cholesterol due to the presence of antioxidants. It is a highly recommended plant species for pregnant women with diabetes. Hibiscus is widely used to prepare tea, juices, and baked goods.
Lavender’s therapeutic properties range from relaxing the central nervous system to treating parasitic infections, muscle spasm, insect bites, and burns. Lavender has a subtle floral flavor and used widely in baked bread, salad dressing, desserts, or marinades.
Dandelions have a compelling nutritional profile with glucose-lowering properties. They are used in the management of diabetes and other metabolic disorders due to the presence of bioactive compounds such as chlorogenic acid, chicoric acid, and taraxasterol. Dandelions are used in salads, baked potato recipes and can also be stir-fried and used as an alternative to spinach.
Violets contain active compounds such as vitamin B1, vitamin B2, vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, iron, potassium, phosphorus, and saponins. The flower has strong anti-inflammatory properties that help keep the respiratory system and blood vessels strong. Violets have a strong aroma which is why it is widely used in salads and soups.
In a study, rose petals have shown potent antioxidant and antibacterial properties. Roses are a great source of phenolic compounds and many vital minerals and vitamins. The petals of roses are a part of many savory dishes in the Middle East, India, and North Africa.
7. Squash Blossom
Squash blossoms are the flowers of squash we used as vegetables. It is widely used in Italian and Mexican cuisines such as pasta and soups. In India, Indian squash is stuffed and fried or sauteed with other vegetables. Some of the nutrients found in this flower are vitamin C and potassium.
Calendula is consumed in many varieties of salads. They belong to the family of daisy and is known to treat conditions such as eczema, rashes, infections, and inflammations. Calendula has anti-Hyperglycemic and anticholinergic effects due to the presence of natural antioxidants.
Rosemary gives a fine taste of a mild herb and therefore, largely used for garnishing. The flower has many nutritional benefits and contains vitamin B, A, C, and is also an excellent source of iron.
Marigold is the commonly grown flower in every house. A study has mentioned its antioxidative, anti-inflammatory, and analgesic properties to treat many conditions such as abdominal problems. However, not all varieties of marigolds are edible. For best taste, use French marigold or gen marigolds.
Apart from using jasmine flowers as decorative flowers in the houses, you can use it to add a flavor to tea or sweet dishes. This flower is said to act as an antioxidant and also known for strong antibacterial activities. The oil of jasmine also has many health applications in aromatherapy.
Well, sunflower oil is known to many, but the petals, stems, and buds of the flower are also directly consumed by people or used in preparing dishes. This flower is a rich source of vitamins and minerals and contains many flavonoids.
13. Blue honeysuckle
Blue honeysuckle flowers have major phenolic compounds such as flavonols (rutin, quercetin, and quercitrin) and flavones (catechins and proanthocyanidins), and anthocyanins. They are known to prevent the risk of cancer, neurodegenerative diseases, diabetes, and heart diseases. Blue honeysuckles are mainly used to prepare jams and juices.
Of all the flowers mentioned, saffron is one of the costliest spices with amazing taste, aroma, and health benefits. It is used for coloring food, especially sweet dishes and Kashmiri dishes like chicken curry, soups, etc. Saffron is an antiseptic, antidepressant, and has antioxidants that may help cure digestive disorders.
Lotus flowers are mainly in Asian countries to prepare tea. It is known to provide a soothing effect on the body due to its mild psychoactive and anesthetic properties. Lotus petals are rich in Vitamin A, B, and C.
16. Monks Cress or Nasturtiums
Monks cress, also known as nasturtiums has strong antibacterial activity against many infectious strains. It also has antitumor activity diuretic, antithrombotic and hypotensive effects. It has a slight warm peppery flavor and a mild taste.
17. St. John’s Wort
This yellow, star-shaped, five-petaled flower is mainly used to treat sleep disorders, depression, hot flashes, headache, confusion, food cravings, and wounds. The flowers are consumed in the form of tea. To Remember All the flowers aforementioned have many varieties or species and not all varieties are edible. Some can be non-toxic while others can be really toxic and dangerous. Also, these flowers are dose-dependent and must be taken in a proper amount after consulting a medical expert.